Shooting At Fort Lauderdale Airport Leaves At Least 5 Dead And 8 Injured
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shut down Friday afternoon after five people were killed and several more were injured in a baggage claim area, according to Broward Sheriffs's Office.
"The state of Florida will not tolerate evil acts. Whoever is responsible will be held accountable to the full extent of the law," said governor Rick Scott, who flew from Fort Myers to the Executive Airport in Miami.
Scott indicated that he spoke "several times" with president-elect Donald Trump and vice president-elect Mike Pence to inform them of the situation, but "not to president Obama."
Scott offered state resources to support the Broward Sheriff's Office and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport in their investigations. He also spoke with members of the National Guard to ensure safety in the state's airports.
"We went thorough Pulse. The main thing is to pray for those in the hospital fighting for their lives, so they make it," said Scott.
BSO confirmed that the accused shooter, identified as Esteban Santiago by U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, is in custody. In an interview with NBC 6, Nelson said Santiago has a military ID.
Sources told our news partner, the Miami Herald, that Santiago flew into Fort Lauderdale on a flight from Canada and had checked in a gun with his baggage. According to witnesses, Santiago picked up his bag, went to the bathroom -where he is believed to have loaded the gun-, stepped into the luggage claim area of Terminal 2 and began shooting.
Broward County established a toll free number 866-435-9355 for passengers and family members affected by the shooting and established a Family Assistance Center at the Renaissance Hotel, 1617 SE 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316.
The Airport was still on lockdown by Friday evening and the Broward Sheriff's Office had two active scenes of investigation: the original site of the incident in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2 and a parking garage across from the terminal.
You can listen to Broward Sheriff Scott Israel's update by 3:20 p.m. He confirmed SWAT teams were actively clearing the entire airport.
According to reports, the shooting occurred around 1 p.m. at Terminal 2, which serves Air Canada and Delta. The airport tweeted about "an incident" and confirmed all services have been suspended.
There is an ongoing incident in Terminal 2, Baggage Claim. Media availability is at the staging area.— Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Int'l Airport (FLL) (@FLLFlyer) January 6, 2017
Florida Governor Rick Scott tweeted that he is traveling to Fort Lauderdale to to be briefed by law enforcement.
"We are trying to evacuate people," said Barbara Sharief, Broward County Mayor, to CNN. "He was a lone shooter and we have no evidence at this time that he was acting with anyone else. He is in custody.”
“At this time we do not have a motive but we are actively investigating that,” said Sharief. “At this time the airport is shut down. They are in the process of trying to activate other areas in the airport so they can start moving passengers along.”
In a statement, Miami International Airport said it will increase, but continue to operate normally.
"The Miami-Dade Aviation Department is in close communication with authorities at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL) regarding the shooting incident there, and is taking appropriate steps to adjust our security posture as necessary," the statement reads.
Out of an abundance of caution, extra security measures in place at MIA. All operations are normal.— Miami Int'l Airport (@iflymia) January 6, 2017
Several witnesses took to social media to describe the incident, including former White House spokesperon Ari Fleischer.
I'm at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 6, 2017
All seems calm now but the police aren't letting anyone out of the airport - at least not the area where I am.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 6, 2017